Employment Matters February 2018

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Employment Matters February 2018

Published 8 February 2018

Not many will have missed the coverage of events at the Presidents Club dinner last month where hired hostesses were allegedly groped and sexually harassed. In the current climate employers would be wise to remind managers that they need to reinforce bullying and harassment policies and intervene if they witness inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature in the workplace. Managers also need to be familiar with how any concerns should be reported within their organisation so any complaints can be investigated and dealt with. The Presidents Club scandal shows the reputational damage that can be done to organisations and individuals when these basic standards are forgotten.

This month, ACAS has published statistics showing a significant increase in its receipt of early conciliation notifications since the Supreme Court decision, in July 2017, that tribunal fees were unlawful. This increase in activity is an unsurprising demonstration that, since the tribunal fees regime was abolished, employees are much more inclined to threaten (and bring) claims against their employers.

We have also been told by the Government Equalities Office this month that they are keeping a careful eye on which organisations have registered for gender pay reporting purposes, and they plan to publish three separate lists soon of: 1) those who have reported; 2) those who have demonstrated they are on track to report by registering’ with the online service; and 3) those in scope who have not yet taken action. If your organisation has not registered yet, we recommend you do so to ensure you are on the list demonstrating you are on track, and in a position to upload your data and meet the deadlines for publishing.

In this alert, we look at two EAT judgments where workers have claimed they have suffered a detriment for whistleblowing. We also consider a case from the European Court of Human Rights, which reminds employers about the very limited circumstances in which they should conduct covert monitoring of their employees. We also look at a case about compensatory rest breaks that may have significant ramifications where the requirements of workers’ roles mean that it is very difficult to allow them to take continuous rest breaks of twenty minutes during their shifts.

Whistleblowing: a detriment claim can be brought against overseas colleagues

The EAT has held that whistleblowing claims can be brought against co-workers who are based abroad if the co-workers have a sufficiently strong connection to Great Britain.

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Whistleblowing: the person subjecting a whistleblower to a detriment must be personally motivated by a protected disclosure

The EAT has decided that, to be liable for a detriment under whistleblowing legislation, a person who subjects a worker to a detriment must personally be motivated by the protected disclosure.

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Collective Bargaining: outsourced workers not entitled to collectively bargain with "De Facto" employer

The Central Arbitration Committee has rejected a claim that outsourced workers employed at a university should be entitled to bargain collectively with the university as their "de facto" employer.

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Covert Surveillance: does it breach the right to privacy?

The use of hidden cameras did violate the right to privacy of employees who were dismissed for theft, according to the European Court of Human Rights.

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Unfair Dismissal: effective date of dismissal

The effective date of termination for a summary dismissal is the date on which the employee is told that their employment has ended, even if the employer later gives written notice.

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Working Time Regulations: compensatory rest breaks must be a single continuous period of at least twenty minutes

In this case, the EAT considered whether compensatory rest must be taken in one uninterrupted period or whether a series of short breaks can be aggregated to amount to the requisite time.

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Authors

Ceri Fuller

Ceri Fuller

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6583

Zoë Wigan

Zoë Wigan

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)20 7894 6564

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